A former Sopranos Mafioso, a drag queen named Clover Honey, an eight-year-old wearing pigtails, a man in a three-piece lavender suit, and a roller derby girl in stars and stripes have something in common: all will be featured on NYC life, the official TV network of the only city diverse enough to meld such a motley crew. The assorted quintet was on hand in Times Square Tuesday morning as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the upcoming primetime line-up of NYC life. Mayor Bloomberg called the programming “above all diverse” and “a wonderful reflection of the city it showcases.”
“Now we have something else to watch at night besides Jersey Shore.”
Without tapping into any new financial resources or taxpayer money, NYC Media General Manager Katherine Oliver managed to produce original programs as well as syndicated shows for the new NYC life line-up, which premieres locally on channel 25 on May 10. Organized into six New York-centric nights—Arts & Culture on Mondays, NYC History on Tuesday, Inside Out New York on Wednesdays, All About Food on Thursday, Entertainment on Friday and Kids, Travel, and Music on the Weekend—the channel offers more than most municipal public television has up until this point. Partnering with History, A&E, WNBC and other local television stations, NYC life is offering 15 new series available without the cable box, and with an estimated one in eight people expected to cut the cable cord in the next year, penny-pinching New Yorkers should be appreciative of the city’s increased effort to provide high-quality free programming.
Former star of The Sopranos and current father figure on The Secret Life of the American Teenager Steve Schirripa guides viewers through the kitchens of his favorite iconic restaurants on Steve Schirripa’s Hungry, while Top Chef Masters host Kelly Choi brings her culinary prowess to Very Appetizing with Kelly Choi and Secrets Of New York. Some less recognizable names (at least for now) are also bringing their expertise to the channel. Clover Honey joins Tony Sawicki as a correspondent on the LGBT-geared program Under the Pink Carpet, the self-proclaimed “quaffer of culinary consciousness” Baron Ambrosia (think David Copperfield mixed with Mystery of VH1’s The Pick-Up Artist) shows off another borough’s cuisine on Bronx Flavor with Baron Ambrosia, two pre-teens present cartoons made by kids on Small Factory Flicks, and the Gotham Girls, the city’s only women’s roller derby league, show off their skills on the rink. On Talk Stoop WNBC reporter Cat Greenleaf chats with celebrities on her Brooklyn steps and A&E is also offering up its hit music series Private Sessions where artists from Cyndi Lauper to Queen Latifah perform and are interviewed by host Lynn Hoffman.
From cartoons to cooking and music to marital affairs, NYC life runs the gamut when it comes to content. “We think we have something for all New Yorkers,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Lieber said Tuesday morning from the Times Square Visitor’s Center where the line-up was announced. “Now we have something else to watch at night besides Jersey Shore.”
Jaimie Etkin is an assistant culture editor at The Daily Beast. She has also written for Us Weekly and Radar.